• Action-sentence compatibility effect;
  • Motor planning;
  • Language comprehension


When participants are asked to make sensibility judgments on sentences that describe action toward the body (i.e., “Mark dealt the cards to you”) or away from the body (i.e., “You dealt the cards to Mark”), they are faster to respond when the response requires an arm movement in the same direction as the action described by the sentence. This congruence effect is known as the Action–Sentence Compatibility Effect (ACE). This study reports 4 experiments that extend our understanding of the ACE by exploring how the time at which one prepares the motor response required for the sensibility judgment affects the magnitude of the ACE. Results show that the ACE arises only when participants have the opportunity to plan their motor response while they are processing the sentence.